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The Kerrang! Staff’s Top 10 Albums Of 2018

Wanna know what were we listening to this year?

SAM COARE, EDITOR
10. Turnstile, Time & Space
9. The Dirty Nil, Master Volume
8. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
7. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
6. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
5. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
4. MØL, Jord
3. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
2. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
1. Architects, Holy Hell
“Holy Hell has not been far from my thoughts since I first heard it. It is a record that worms its way into your heart and soul, nagging and pulling at both with every listen. It is unflinching, bold, and deeply moving; exhausting, yet come its conclusion, uplifting, too. It stands as a monument to one man, and the impact his 28 short years had on the people around him, but also to the power of music as catharsis; a guiding light through the darkness we will all come to face in life. 2018 has been a year blessed with records of remarkable quality, yet no other can profess to being as powerful. As the title-track itself offers, there is a Holy Hell where we can save ourselves.”

AMIT SHARMA, WRITER
10. Nine Inch Nails, Bad Witch
9. Clutch, Book Of Bad Decisions
8. Walking Papers, WP2
7. Judas Priest, Firepower
6. Yob, Our Raw Heart
5. Myles Kennedy, Year Of The Tiger
4. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
3. Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog
2. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
1. Ghost, Prequelle
“It’s easy to see why Ghost have been one of the most successful rock bands of the last decade. They write songs that infect the nervous system much like the Black Plague they sing of on their fourth full-length. Symphonising smouldering guitars, grand pianos, ’80s synths and even the odd saxophone into a devilish mix of ABBA meets Blue Öyster Cult-style progressive pop. This year’s masterpiece manages to surpass all competition by quite some distance.”

ALISTAIR LAWRENCE, WRITER
10. The Prodigy, No Tourists
9. Turnstile, Time & Space
8. Drug Church, Cheer
7. Tiny Moving Parts, Swell
6. Single Mothers, Through A Wall
5. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
4. The Interrupters, Fight The Good Fight
3. Can’t Swim, This Too Won’t Pass
2. Yob, Our Raw Heart
1. Alkaline Trio, Is This Thing Cursed?
“Back in black and red, Alkaline Trio only needed 40 minutes to remind us that they’re at their best when they strip back their sound and let their lyrics do the talking. Is This Thing Cursed? is what happens when death, despair and grim humour host a party: a blast of ice-cool pop-punk that checks its inhibitions at the cemetery gates.”

CHRIS KROVATIN, U.S. EDITORIAL MANAGER
10. Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard
9. Horrendous, Idol
8. Maggot Casket, Maggot Casket
7. Rebel Wizard, Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response
6. Uada, Cult Of A Dying Sun
5. Carnation, Chapel of Abhorrence
4. High On Fire, Electric Messiah
3. Scumpulse, Rotten
2. Khemmis, Desolation
1. Sleep, The Sciences
“Even if Sleep hadn’t surprise-dropped their new album on 4/20, the throbbing interstellar vibes on The Sciences would get the listener faded as fuck. Brimming with stoner cliche to the point of total earnestness, this album sounds like the throb in your head when a potent edible kicks in. Put it on, hit the bong, hold for three seconds, and exhale into God’s face.”

KIRAN ACHARYA, WRITER
10. Fontaines DC, Four EPs
9. Pig Destroyer, Head Cage
8. Ghost, Prequelle
7. The Prodigy, No Tourists
6. Intercourse, Everything Is Pornography When You’ve Got An Imagination
5. The Malpractice, Slur
4. Architects, Holy Hell
3. Tropical Fuck Storm, A Laughing Death in Meatspace
2. The Black Queen, Infinite Games
1. Therapy?, Cleave
“In a surprising yet entirely deserved success, Therapy? returned with 15th studio album Cleave to cement their reputation as alternative music’s most unrepentant and unbeatable outsiders. The gnarly churn of Wreck It Like Beckett and sigh-to-soar euphoria of No Sunshine were equalled and exceeded in a run of sold-out European and UK dates, which look set to continue into their landmark 30th year.”

STEVE BEECH, ART DIRECTOR
10. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
9. Shame, Songs Of Praise
8. Teenage Wrist, Chrome Neon Jesus
7. Slow Crush, Aurora
6. Orlov, Tru
5. Big Bite, Big Bite
4. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
3. Turnstile, Time & Space
2. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
1. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
“This year has been a great year for albums, personally speaking – so many solid releases it was heard to call between this and IDLES. So my album of the year is Nothing because this has everything I want from an album: dreamy guitars, pounding drums and sad boy lyrics. Produced by John Angello (Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Kurt vVile) this reignites memories as a teenager around the time when shoegaze was a big part of my mixtapes and guitar heroes. It even made me start playing the guitar again in a very noisy distorted way. The band have really peaked with this album and if their latest Instagram stories are anything to go by they are having a veeeeeeery long and well deserved piss-up to celebrate. SPOONS BOYS NEVER DIE!”

JAMES HINGLE, LISTINGS EDITOR
10. Can’t Swim, This Too Won’t Pass
9. The Black Queen, Infinite Games
8. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
7. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
6. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
5. Conjurer, Mire
4. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
3. Architects, Holy Hell
2. Ghost, Prequelle
1. Turnstile, Time & Space
“The most shape-shifting, genre-boundary-smashing album of the year and I have been here for it. Every. Single. Day. Since Turnstile dropped their sophomore album back way back in February it’s seen me through the most weakening of train commutes, uplifted my spirits after England were knocked out of the World Cup, and taken my mind away from the shittest life situations. It’s uncompromising nature embodies everything Turnstile are about, and Time & Space is the future.”

ESMÉ SURFLEET, VIDEO PRODUCER
10. Carpenter Brut, Leather Teeth
9. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
8. Drug Church, Cheer
7. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
6. Crossfaith, EX_MACHINA
5. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
4. Parkway Drive, Reverence
3. Turnstile, Time & Space
2. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
1. Architects, Holy Hell
“Rarely does an entire album give me the kind of goosebumps that stay until the next listen (which has happened, repeatedly).”

ETHAN FIXELL, U.S. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
10. Birds In Row, We Already Lost the World
9. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
8. Windhand, Eternal Return
7. Pohgoh, Secret Club
6. Cursive, Vitriola
5. Rivers Of Nihil, Where Owls Know My Name
4. Daughters, You Won’t Get What You Want
3. Hopesfall, Arbiter
2. Conjurer, Mire
1. Vein, Errorzone
“The release of Vein’s debut LP was a total gamechanger, setting the stage for a new terrifying era of metalcore that actually feels dangerous once again. But ultimately, they must be experienced live: I haven’t seen that much energy and violence at a concert in years.”

OLLY THOMAS, WRITER
10. Grave Lines, Fed Into The Nihilist Engine
9. Therapy?, Cleave
8. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
7. OHHMS, Exist
6. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
5. Hot Snakes, Jericho Sirens
4. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
3. Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope
2. Mudhoney, Digital Garbage
1. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
“This album contains multitudes. Rolo’s fifth full-length was both the culmination of everything they’ve achieved over the last decade, and a massive step up that suggested they could continue to evolve for years to come. Rarely have so many different impulses, from ambient electronica to absolutely raging hardcore, come together to form such a coherent whole. Clutch this band to your heart.”

PAUL HARRIES, PHOTOGRAPHER
10. Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog

9. You Me At Six, VI
8. Bury Tomorrow, Black Flame

7. Skindred, Big Tings

6. Architects, Holy Hell

5. Nine Inch Nails, Bad Witch

4. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant

3. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now

2. Biffy Clyro, MTV Unplugged (Live At Roundhouse, London)
1. Ghost, Prequelle
“Prequelle is fantastically over the top from start to finish.”

STEVE BEEBEE, WRITER
10. Amaranthe, Helix
9. Oceans Of Slumber, The Banished Heart
8. The Struts, Young & Dangerous
7. The Temperance Movement, A Deeper Cut
6. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
5. Greta Van Fleet, Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
4. Halestorm, Vicious
3. The Interrupters, Fight The Good Fight
2. Ghost, Prequelle
1. Judas Priest, Firepower
“They’re a band that are supposed to be in the winter of their career, but Judas Priest kicked off 2018 by delivering one of the finest albums they’ve recorded in their five decade lifespan. To these ears, no band from within the metal genre even came close to rivalling these past masters. The title-track alone was among the most vicious, controlled aural assaults ever staged by the British legends, and that was just an appetiser for what was to come. Evil Never Dies found vocalist Rob Halford at his most precise and ear-shattering, while Rising From Ruins and Never The Heroes were the kind of anthems we thought the band had forgotten how to write. How wrong we were – and how great it is to have this most iconic of metal bands back with us firing on all cylinders.”

SAM LAW, WRITER
10. Yob, Our Raw Heart
9. Frank Turner, Be More Kind
8. Zeal & Ardor, Stranger Fruit
7. Turnstile, Time & Space
6. Witchsorrow, Hexenhammer
5. Architects, Holy Hell
4. Primordial, Exile Amongst The Ruins
3. Alkaline Trio, Is This Thing Cursed?
2. Andrew W.K., You’re Not Alone
1. Tribulation, Down Below
“I first listened to Down Below in its entirety on the long, late-night walk home from a particularly nasty horror movie marathon. Call that serendipity. The most convincingly blood-curdling LP in years, this is the sound of death metal for vampires: its haunting melodies and beguilingly folksy interludes hypnotising the listener before heavier moments swoop in to deliver their deliciously toothy bite. Guitarists Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hultén lead the way – leaving their own blackened imprint on the proud Swedish melo-death tradition – but the high drama of Oscar Leander’s percussion and frontman Johannes Andersson’s prowling menace round-out a timelessly terrific picture. Piercing the boundary between underground and mainstream metal at will, one could argue the game-changing potential of songs like Nightbound and Lady Death in hooking “casual” listeners without sacrificing their serrated edge. I’m not a casual listener, though, just another ghoulish fiend entranced by the shapes in the shadows. Down Below is the very definition of midnight music.”

MARIANNE ELOISE, WRITER
10. The Wonder Years, Sister Cities
9. Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy
8. Death Cab For Cutie, Thank You For Today
7. The Xcerts, Hold On to Your Heart
6. Mitski, Be The Cowboy
5. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
4. Panic! At the Disco, Pray For the Wicked
3. Good Charlotte, Generation Rx
2. Lil Peep Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.2
1. Fall Out Boy, M A N I A
“On first listen, with its mix of pop, dubstep, rock, and even reggae, M A N I A could be difficult to get your head around. But by the third, fourth, fifth go it’s addictive, even genius; a pure Fall Out Boy record with an ADD-like attitude to experimentation. It shows the quartet at their best: not scared to take risks, even when they might not make much sense from the outside. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to see live.”

PAUL TRAVERS, WRITER
10. Greta Van Fleet, Anthem of the Peaceful Army
9. The Interrupters, Fight the Good Fight
8. Powerwolf, The Sacrament Of Sin
7. Ghost, Prequelle
6. Chthonic, Battlefields of Asura
5. Cypress Hill, Elephants on Acid
4. Dimmu Borgir, Eonian
3. Judas Priest, Firepower
2. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
1. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
“2014’s The Satanist was arguably more pivotal, marking frontman Nergal’s recovery from leukaemia and the band’s evolution into a grander, more stately beast. But, by Beelzebub’s flaming balls, they’ve only gone and bettered it. This has more accessible groove, but without becoming Behemoth’s ‘Black Album’. It’s still dark and savage but with added bombast. A true behemoth of an album in fact.”

EMILY CARTER, NEWS EDITOR
10. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
9. Turnstile, Time & Space
8. Fall Out Boy, M A N I A
7. Waterparks, Entertainment
6. Parkway Drive, Reverence
5. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
4. The Longshot, Love Is For Losers
3. Panic! At The Disco, Pray For The Wicked
2. Brian Fallon, Sleepwalkers
1. twenty one pilots, Trench
“Somehow, between the thousands of words I’ve written about twenty one pilots this year, I still can’t seem to sum up Trench without turning into a waffly, babbling, emotional mess. Of course, you could argue that’s on me – but I’d prefer to put it down to Tyler and Josh’s magnificent creation. It does everything right: from the delicate (Neon Gravestones) and the vulnerable (Smithereens), to the ambitious (Pet Cheetah) and the stupidly catchy (literally the whole damn thing). It’s an endlessly immersive listen that offers up something new each time, and some day I hope to find the perfect way of epitomising it. For now, let’s just go with ‘masterpiece’.”

MISCHA PEARLMAN, WRITER
10. The Wonder Years, Sister Cities
9. Thrice, Palms
8. Casey, Where I Go When I Am Sleeping
7. Boston Manor, Welcome To The Neighbourhood
6. Joyce Manor, Million Dollars To Kill Me
5. Tiny Moving Parts, Swell
4. Single Mothers, Through A Wall
3. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
2. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
1. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
“Nothing’s third full-length might not be heavy in the traditional sense of the word, but it’s weighed down with the burden of living so much that you can’t help but be sucked into its black hole of despair. What stops it verging from being a full-on journey of nihilistic self-torture is the beauty of the songs. Sure, the gentle shoegazey lull of opening track Zero Day might sound like drowning - as close as anything can come to sounding like drowning anyway – but there’s a disturbing comfort in its minor chord feedback and in vocalist Domenic Palermo’s almost seductive vocals that make you want to dive right in to the water. That’s not such a surprise when you learn about Domenic’s harrowing history – one that includes growing up in a crack-addled neighbourhood, being jailed for attempted murder, being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness and having a number of his friends die young – but the real wonder here is how he extracts something positive out of all that and channels it into something that’s dark and devastating, but inspiring and full of broken wonder. An absolute triumph – literally – of a record.”

PAUL BRANNIGAN, WRITER
10. Clutch, Book Of Bad Decisions
9. Turbowolf, The Free Life
8. Astodan, Ameretat
7. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
6. Architects, Holy Hell
5. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
4. Therapy?, Cleave
3. Turnstile, Time & Space
2. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
1. Ghost, Prequelle
“Upon the release of Prequelle in June, I went on record to say, ‘It’s hard to imagine a more audacious or compelling metal album being released in 2018.’ Happily, I’ve had no cause to regret those words. A fantastical, bewitching and wildly imaginative Satanic hymnal, Ghost’s fourth studio collection brilliantly melded influences from ’80s stadium rock, classical arias, ‘Brat Pack’ movie soundtracks and frostbitten extreme metal with none-more-bleak Black Death imagery to irresistible effect. Few things in 2018 have given me more pleasure than the almost daily sight/sound of my eight-year-old son cheerfully crooning ‘Don’t you forget about dying / Don’t you forget about your friend death / Don’t you forget that you will die’ in chorus with Cardinal Copia. Welcome to the dark side son…”

JAKE RICHARDSON, WRITER
10. Hellions, Rue
9. Sylar, Seasons
8. Panic! At The Disco, Pray For The Wicked
7. Trash Boat, Crown Shyness
6. Save Face, Merci
5. Pagan, Black Wash
4. Architects, Holy Hell
3. Slowly Slowly, St. Leonards
2. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
1. Trophy Eyes, The American Dream
“Moving from Australia’s East Coast to Texas to live with his girlfriend inspired Trophy Eyes vocalist John Floreani to pen a collection of soaring rock songs influenced by Americana, and in doing so, he crafted one of 2018’s most surprising records. From the carpe diem anthem that is Friday Forever to the self-deprecating cry of More Like You, The American Dream is brimming with heart, soul and punk-rock spirit. More than anything, though, this is an album teeming with ambition. Off the back of this, Trophy Eyes deserve to be huge.”

JAMES MACKINNON, WRITER
10. The Dirty Nil, Master Volume
9. Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog
8. Architects, Holy Hell
7. MØL, Jord
6. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
5. Emma Ruth Rundle, On Dark Horses
4. Gouge Away, Burnt Sugar
3. The Black Queen, Infinite Games
2. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
1. Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope
“If you were to distill Svalbard’s second album down to one palpable emotion, it would be unbreakable hope. That may seem paradoxical given the record’s sleeve openly admits It’s Hard To Have Hope, or the flesh-flaying metal that fuels caustic takedowns of anti-abortion laws, economic discrimination and sexual assault at gigs. Yet these plainly-spoken dissections aren’t preaching to a backslapping choir. They provoke questions precisely because Svalbard believe that change is possible and they channel their rage into towering melodies that rival MONO for the ability to lift spirits.
“Beyond those considerable merits, what pushes this album to the top for me is that, even after several months of repeated listens, it still has the stopping power of a cannonball fired directly to the solar plexus. My skin prickles when Iorek reaches that cathartic wave of cascading percussion and guitars. My blood boils as that crunching riff shifts Feminazi?! into Ultra-Mega-Overdrive. And my stomach buckles every time guitarists Serena Cherry and Liam Phelan share the album’s closing lines, ‘So it doesn’t hurt to have hope and it will never hurt to try / Try not to die until you’re dead.’ It’s Hard To Have Hope is as potent and visceral as the first time I heard it and – like IDLES’ Joy As An Act Of Resistance – it is a vital commentary on the times we are living through and how we might get through them together.”

KARL SMITH, WRITER
10. Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer
9. Brockhampton, Irridesence
8. Princess Nokia, A Girl Cried Red
7. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Corinthiax
6. Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy
5. Yves Tumor, Safe In The Hands of Love
4. Oneohtrix Point Never, Age Of
3. Fall Out Boy, M A N I A
2. Lil Peep, Come Over When You’re Sober Pt I
1. Pianos Become The Teeth, Wait For Love
“Released back at the start of 2018, this album already feels like it’s been around forever. Not because it feels old, necessarily, but because it has – in a way Pianos records have a habit of doing – interwoven itself so thoroughly into the fabric of my life, finding itself very much the soundtrack of pivotal highs and lows from this year: if I cast my mind back to some time in March, I’ll hear the drum intro to Fake Lightning and feel the inherent pang of Kyle Durfey’s wavering falsetto more or less every time.

MATT DYKZEUL, DEPUTY ART EDITOR
10. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
9. Shame, Songs Of Praise
8. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
7. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
6. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
5. Drug Church, Cheer
4. Candy, Good To Feel
3. Fiddlehead, Springtime And Blind
2. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
1. Turnstile, Time & Space
“I felt like hardcore had lost its positive force, and then Turnstile came along.”

NICK RUSKELL, SENIOR EDITOR
10. Turnstile, Time & Space
9. High On Fire, Electric Messiah
8. Judas Priest, Firepower
7. Winterfylleth, The Hallowing Of Heirdom
6. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
5. Slaegt, The Wheel
4. Ghost, Prequelle
3. Conjurer, Mire
2 Carpenter Brut, Leather Teeth
1. Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope
“A furious blast of barefaced righteousness, black metal intensity, hardcore power and creative genius from one of the finest bands in the UK.”

KATIE PARSONS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
10. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
9. Basement, Beside Myself
8. Conjurer, Mire
7. Black Peaks, All That Divides
6. Turnstile, Time And Space
5. Cancer Bats, The Spark That Moves
4. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
3. Thrice, Palms |
2. Architects, Holy Hell
1. Trophy Eyes, The American Dream
“Who even knew we all needed the po-faced, earnest love child of 30 Seconds To Mars and Attack In Black to rock to sleep this year? Proper songs, proper lyrics, proper skill – making for my most played album of the year. Swoon.”

JOHN LONGBOTTOM, WRITER
10. Carpenter Brut, Leather Teeth
9. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
8. Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope
7. The Human Project, Clarion Call
6. Haggard Cat, Challenger
5. Pennywise, Never Gonna Die
4. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
3. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
2. Turnstile, Time & Space
1. Thrice, Palms
“A beautiful, layered and restorative record written by a band who are truly enjoying a renaissance… and deserve every second of it. While I’ve always enjoyed their music, I’ve never been a die-hard Thrice fan. But this album reached out through the speakers and grabbed me by the heart. A few hundred listens later and I’m still finding new layers and new depth to the songs. Brooding. Majestic. Masterful. I love it.”

JENN FIVE, PHOTOGRAPHER
10. Slaves, Acts of Fear And Love
9. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
8. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
7. Parquet Courts, Wide Awake
6. A Perfect Circle, Eat the Elephant
5. Turnstile, Time & Space
4. Nine Inch Nails, Bad Witch
3. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
2. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
1.Shame, Songs Of Praise
“One of the hardest working bands in London right now. It’s been insane to witness this band tear up the world with this album and their notoriously rowdy live shows. Their sold-out Kentish Town Forum last month was definitely one of the highlights of my year. One Rizla will forever have my heart.”

JAMES HICKIE, WRITER
10. Skindred, Big Tings
9. Turnstile, Time & Space
8. Thrice, Palms
7. Ghost, Prequelle
6. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
5. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
4. The Damned, Evil Spirits
3. Black Peaks, All That Divides
2. Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog
1. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the pressure greater, when you haven’t released a studio album for 14 years. Thankfully, Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel were equal to the task of living up to towering expectations. on Eat The Elephant, the LA supergroup has crafted a subtly politicised record as beautiful as its predecessors, but infused with a sense of something even more worrying than despair: a resignation that this marble we’re all on is hurtling towards some sort of Armageddon, so why not listen to some magnificent music while we’re waiting. With Tool returning in 2019, it will be some time before we see APC again. So long, and thanks for all the tunes, gents.”

PHIL ALEXANDER, GLOBAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR
10. Emma Ruth Rundle, On Dark Horses
9. Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats, Wasteland
8. Mudhoney, Digital Garbage
7. Conjurer, Mire
6. Turnstile, Time & Space
5. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
4. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
3. OCS, Smote Reverser
2. Sleep, The Sciences
1. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
“The best music is born of deep humanity, restless energy, and love. Bristol punks IDLES understand that. That is why Joy As An Act Of Resistance is so powerful. Musically, it lurches forward with Fall-like precision and sheer soulful abandon. Lyrically speaking, it is once again a deeply personal album, all while reflecting the turmoil we are currently all living through. Listen to it, and it will inspire and give you hope.”

HANNAH EWENS, WRITER
10. Terror, Total Retaliation
9. Marmozets, Knowing What You Know Now
8. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
7. Screaming Females, All At Once
6. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
5. Nothing, Dance On The Black Top
4. Soccer Mommy, Clean
3. Snail Mail, Lush
2. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
1. Turnstile, Time & Space
“Each track on Time & Space sounds like nothing else. When Turnstile’s second album came out in February on Roadrunner this year, it was, obviously, laughably good but absurd – the audacity of throwing together scraps of your favourite ’90s / ’00s alt. and garage rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction), angular post-punk, ’00s metal, jazz and pop punk onto a hardcore record, though. All of it is hyper-bombastic, at moments silly, and made for dancing, but held together cohesively with hardcore at its centre. The pacing is perfect: top heavy and lurching, the adrenaline of the fuller tracks leaves you buzzing with anticipation through the interludes. Whether it’s the haunting ‘ah-ah’s that slide across Generator or Tina Halladay (Sheer Mag)’s echoing vocals on Moon, Turnstile have created a spherical otherworldly zone on Time & Space. ‘I gravitate / To high pressure’ Brendan Yates shouts on High Pressure, which feels apt for the quality of my life and mind at least, erratic and tense to the point of feeling paradoxically like you’re transcending time and literally space (am we on another planet?). At least for just shy of half an hour, fun is a reality inside the pressure cooker.”

MIKE RAMPTON, WRITER
10. Alkaline Trio, Is This Thing Cursed?
9. KEN Mode, Loved
8. Winterfylleth, The Hallowing of Heirdom
7. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
6. Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, Born To Rot
5. Fucked Up, Dose Your Dreams
4. Slay Duggee, Kids Love Metal
3. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
2. Turnstile, Time & Space
1. MØL, Jord
“This has been a stressful year, and somehow the giant, sweeping, swirling cacophony of Jord has beautifully complemented walking around on a perpetual knife-edge, permanently on at least an eight in terms of tension, trying to work out what to be most worried about at any given time. Their massive, dramatic, atmospheric, colossal fucking racket of Danish shoegaze black metal gives the most mundane or depressing of moments – sitting on a delayed train checking your bank balance and swearing under your breath, for instance, or trying to figure out how to do two days’ work in three hours due to missing a bunch of deadlines and lying about it – a windswept, apocalyptic feel, like you’re standing atop a fjord roaring your woes into a storm. Glorious.”

IAN WINWOOD, WRITER
10. Pennywise, Never Gonna Die
9. Clutch, Book Of Bad Decisions
8. Architects, Holy Hell
7. Alkaline Trio, Is This Thing Cursed?
6. The Wonder Years, Sister Cities
5. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
4. Biffy Clyro, MTV Unplugged, Live At Roundhouse, London
3. Muse, Simulation Theory
2. Frank Turner, Be More Kind
1. The Interrupters, Fight The Good Fight
“The third album from LA’s The Interrupters combines old school ska with fresh-faced punk in a way that is uncommonly accomplished. In a live setting, the group draw a crowd that ranges from teenagers to people who look as if they saw The Specials back in 1979, so their appeal is both wide-ranging and authentic. Here on record, their sound is joyous and, when need be, excoriating. Fight The Good Fight is the best album of its kind since Rancid issued Indestructible some 15 years ago.”

JEN WALKER, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
10. Stand Atlantic, Skinny Dipping
9. The Longshot, Love Is For Losers
8. Architects, Holy Hell
7. twenty one pilots, Trench
6. State Champs, Living Proof
5. Waterparks, Entertainment
4. 5 Seconds Of Summer, Youngblood
3. With Confidence, Love And Loathing
2. Fall Out Boy, M A N I A
1. Panic! At The Disco, Pray For The Wicked
“When I found out Brendon Urie was set to do a stint on Broadway, my first thought was how wonderfully theatrical the follow-up to 2016’s Death Of A Bachelor would be. Then Pray For The Wicked arrived, and literally played out like a musical of the Panic! At The Disco man’s life, with songs about him rejecting his parents’ Mormon faith (Say Amen (Saturday Night)), his childhood dreams of becoming a rock star (High Hopes), making a success of himself (Hey Look Ma, I Made It), and his run-ins with the dark side of the music biz (Dying In LA). Brendon And The Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, if you will.
“The most impressive thing about the record, though, is how tracks like High Hopes are imbued with Brendon’s zest for life. It’s so positive and joyous; the musical equivalent of a box of puppies on Christmas morning. It might have become Panic!’s highest charting song of all time (and the most played song on English TV right now), but there are so many more stand-out tracks on the record, like the commanding Say Amen… which got the play-on-repeat-’til-I-can-stand-it-no-longer treatment from me when it came out.
“Dancing’s Not A Crime, meanwhile, radiates levels of exuberance formerly only seen in the Care Bears (that ‘I’m a moonwalker!’ line gets me every time), while King Of The Clouds is so unbelievably soft and dreamy, yet also a little frantic. Then there’s Old Fashioned, which is completely original, and totally extra – only Brendon could write a whole song based around a whiskey-based cocktail.
“It’s all big, showy, high-energy business as usual, until closing track Dying In LA. The piano ballad is the most delicate and emotive Panic! song yet. The lyrical matter won’t resonate with many listeners, but that doesn’t matter because the strings and melody are beautiful enough to move you to tears (or to move you to skip the song if crying to Panic! At The Disco isn’t your thing). Pray For The Wicked gets a standing ovation from me.”

STU GARNEYS, DESIGNER
10. Turnstile, Time & Space
9. Svalbard, It’s Hard To Have Hope
8. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
7. High On Fire, Electric Messiah
6. Pagan, Black Wash
5. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
4. Pijn, Loss
3. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
2. Behemoth, I Loved You At Your Darkest
1. Carpenter Brut, Leather Teeth
“These guys are Marmite, but give me a big slice of the old toast with mine ’cause this album is mustard. A real grower.”

TOM SHEPHERD, PRODUCTION EDITOR
10. Foxing, Nearer My God
9. Basement, Beside Myself
8. The Story So Far, Proper Dose
7. Teenage Wrist, Chrome Neon Jesus
6. Black Foxxes, Reidi
5. Pianos Become The Teeth, Wait For Love
4. Tiny Moving Parts, Swell
3. Trophy Eyes, The American Dream
2. Turnstile, Time & Space
1. Drug Church, Cheer
“Cheer is a record that thrives on weird contrasts. Throbbing guitars can give way without warning to Cure-like melodies, while frontman Patrick Kindlon has mastered the art of delivering sardonic takedowns on society with a grubby charm. Whether skewering acts of holier-than-thou-ness on social media or grappling with newly developing social anxieties, his words read like a self-help book with a crooked author. It means the record glows with a weird, ugly rage. Not a hyper-politicised Hollywood strain, but a smirking, pale, office-cubicle anger. In that way, it’s hard to think of another album that captured the mood of 2018 quite so authentically.”

SIMON YOUNG, WRITER
10. Cancer Bats, The Spark That Moves
9. Black Moth, Anatomical Venus
8. Single Mothers, Through A Wall
7. Voivod, The Wake
6. Drug Church, Cheer
5. Architects, Holy Hell
4. Hot Snakes, Jericho Sirens
3. Therapy?, Cleave
2. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
1. Tusky, Rated Gnar
“Featuring former John Coffey guitarist/moustache enthusiast Alfred van Luttikhuizen, John Coffey guitar tech Sjors van Reeuwijk and drummer Bas Allein Richir, Tusky’s debut is a driving collection of punk songs played through a ’90s alt-rock filter: think Foo Fighters, Kerbdog and Helmet appearing at a chunky riff convention. Since its release in March, Rated Gnar has rarely left my turntable – that’s not down to laziness – but songs like You Will Not Regret This (Please Hold Still), Folly and Beach Eater are just three irresistible reasons why so many other albums have sat unloved on my shelf this year. It’s only releases by IDLES, Therapy? and Hot Snakes that have stepped in to ensure that my neighbours don’t think I have a “bit of a problem”. In short, Rated Gnar is better than whatever my learned colleagues have listed on this page, but, to use current internet speak, come at me. They are wrong.”

GEORGE GARNER, WRITER
10. Jeff Ament, Heaven/Hell
9. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
8. Clutch, Book Of Bad Decisions
7. Turnstile, Time & Space
6. Architects, Holy Hell
5. Smashing Pumpkins, Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol.1
4. Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog
3. Nine Inch Nails, Bad Witch
2. Will Haven, Muerte
1. A Perfect Circle, Eat The Elephant
“Holy anticipation, Batman! Just imagine, you wait 14 years for an album and when it finally comes out it’s not only worth the wait, it’s actually better than you could have ever imagined. There are innumerable reasons as to why I like to yap on about A Perfect Circle’s comeback being The Album Of The Year – the fact that it features 2018’s best song (So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, obviously…) is only one of them. What it all boils down to is this: no rock album released this year was freighted with as much intelligence and compassion as Eat The Elephant.”

DAVID MCLAUGHLIN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
10. Rolo Tomassi, Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
9. Graduating Life, Grad Life
8. MØL, Jord
7. Deafheaven, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
6. Carpenter Brut, Leather Teeth
5. IDLES, Joy As An Act Of Resistance
4. Nothing, Dance On The Blacktop
3. The Xcerts, Hold On To Your Heart
2. Turnstile, Time & Space
1. Culture Abuse, Bay Dream
“Hands up: before Bay Dream, I’d completely slept on Culture Abuse. Everyone raved about their 2016 debut full-length Peach and said how much I’d love the band, but classic laziness/stubbornness/idiocy meant recommendations fell on initially deaf ears. Then I heard Bay Dream and immediately regretted being such a dummy.
“Somewhat ironically, this was love in an instant, sounding to my ears like the perfect blend of summery-pop played by a band who were basically a bunch of slacker punks at heart. The woozy sway of the songs and the carefree spirit within vocalist David Kelling’s words combined to make the most ‘me’ mix of music released this year. You know how everyone used to lazily say that Weezer sounded a bit like the Beach Boys playing rock? That’s a cap that fits Bay Dream a lot better. Or maybe it’s more of a modern-day take on Phil Spector-era Ramones. Whatever, these songs are irresistible if you grew up on punk and pop music, with melodies, attitude and hooks in every groove.
“And should time travel ever become a reality, Culture Abuse could do worse than going back to the mid-’90s because these are the kind of songs that would’ve made them stars then. As it is, they remain a beloved cult concern and this album will be one held dear to the hearts of those who welcome it in, and way beyond 2018, too.”

Posted on December 19th 2018, 3:00pm
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